My Service Project Experience
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” - Rabindranath Tagore
This past September and October I spent a few hours serving dinner to local veterans in need. But these veterans needed something more than just a plate at dinner. It seemed that they were looking for a friend or a young person to talk to if only for a few minutes. We are the ones who keep the older people young, as my grandfather always tells me. So, it was easy to choose serving these veterans as my service project for this class, and I enjoyed it so much I signed up for it two more times. I chose the quote above because I felt that I related to it most as a college student. People my age dream that someday life will be perfect only if they are rich and have a life filled with expensive things. It is easy to see that as being a life full of joy, but once you experience the feeling of serving others, it opens your mind to a different kind of joy. It is hard to explain the feeling you get after some sort of community service but afterwards you just feel good about yourself and like you made an actual impact in someone else’s life.
Both times that I signed up for the dinner I brought the drinks because I do not have access to a kitchen in my dormitory and therefore cannot cook. I wish I could have made some of my famous apple pie bread pudding for these deserving veterans but it will just have to wait until I have a kitchen to cook in! After my other classmates and I served dinner consisting of anything from fried chicken to an exotic Thai dish, we got the opportunity to speak to some of these men. One man sat and talked to me for a long time, I think his name was Michael. He told me about how myself and one other girl reminded him of his granddaughter and that she was around the same age as we are. He went on to explain how he had visited so many beautiful places while away at war including Japan and Taiwan. The fulfillment of helping others while also getting to have a good conversation with them is why I did this service project and would do it again and again. I think it is beneficial for any student like myself to give back when you have the opportunity to and make a habit of it early on, which is extremely beneficial to educational wisdom.
My family and I went on vacation to Hawaii when I was twelve years old. My dad is really into history and visiting museums whenever we go on vacation so visiting Pearl Harbor was high on his list when we arrived in Honolulu. I am blessed for being able to visit this historical site but it was also extremely sad to see all the lives that were taken that day and the number of people who walk around the memorial site still in tears. This experience reminded me that these veterans should always be honored no matter what and helping serve dinner was the least I could do. With that being said, I am so glad that I signed up for the Veteran’s Village dinner because it gave me a sense of purpose and also gave me the opportunity to meet some new people which is also an important part of any college experience.
The quote at the top reflects my experience because it reminds me that you cannot sit back and dream to experience the joy of service, you must instead get out there and make it happen. I think this project has inspired me to get involved early on instead of sitting back and waiting for someone to ask me to help in the community. It is beneficial both in a social and educational way to put yourself in a situation that you have never been in before with new people, because it introduces you to so many brand-new opportunities. Finally, I would like to thank you (Dr. Soldani) for this opportunity to volunteer in my new community of Tallahassee, I have learned so much in this one short semester in your class which was always action packed and entertaining.